Archive for the The Duhks Category

Canadiana Week: Round Up

Posted in Canadiana Week, Kathleen Edwards, Luke Doucet, The Duhks on February 19, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Canadiana Week draws to a close now, and I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about some of our friends from the North. During the week, I tried to focus on new music from some newer and less well known artists. Of course, I don’t want to neglect anyone… so I thought I’d close the week by highlighting a few of my old favorites.

Since the week was mostly female dominated, we’ll start today with Luke Doucet. Luke is a singer/songwriter from Halifax who is also phenomenally talented on the guitar. He spent many years as a touring guitarist for Sarah McLachlan while also building his name as a solo artist. Luke is also a sought after producer who has helmed albums by NQ Arbuckle and his wife Melissa McClelland. His 2008 release Blood’s Too Rich was one of my favorite albums of that year… full of blazing guitars and up tempo rockers. This is a down tempo track from the album, the slow building “Bombs Away.”
Luke Doucet: Bombs Away (Buy Album)
The Duhks are another act that has made a lot of noise over the past decade. Originally forming in Winnipeg, The Duhks have performed all over the world with their unique amalgam of modern Celtic, Latin, String Band, and Bluegrass music. The original lineup featured Jordan McConnell on guitar, Leonard Podolak on banjo, Tania Elizabeth on fiddle, Scott Senior on percussion, and Jessee Havey on vocals. Senior and Havey were replaced a few years back by the brother and sister combo of Christian and Sarah Dugas. Earlier this week, Elizabeth announced her departure from the group. No matter the lineup, The Duhks bring a freshness and energy to their sound that always keeps me hooked. This is an instrumental featuring the orginal quintet.
The Duhks: The Magnolia Set (Buy Album)

What else can I say about Kathleen Edwards that I haven’t already said before? She’s one of my favorite artists from any country, and this week would be incomplete without hearing from the Ottowa native. I won’t bore you by going on about her again. Instead, here’s a track from her debut album Failer. You can hear a track from her super-rare debut EP Building 55 over at Star Maker Machine.

Kathleen Edwards: The Lone Wolf (Buy Album)
Note: This post could (and should) include many more artists. Sarah Harmer, The Cowboy Junkies, The Clumsy Lovers, Fred Eaglesmith, and many others come to mind. Unfortunately, I feel like warmed over death right now and just don’t have the energy for it. You can find info on some of these artists, and others, at Star Maker Machine… we’re doing a Canada themed week there as well.

Tennessee Shines Recap

Posted in Alejandro Escovedo, Jennifer Nicely, Tennessee Shines, The Duhks, The Lovell Sisters on January 30, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

It’s Friday morning now, and I’m still basking in the glow of Wednesday night’s edition of Tennessee Shines. I was finally able to attend a taping of the show, and I was not disappointed. Of course, Alejandro Escovedo rocked the pillars of the Bijou Theatre during his portion of the show… but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

Tennessee Shines is a monthly concert series that takes place in downtown Knoxville, TN that is recorded live for radio syndication and local television. It’s very similar to other syndicated programs such as Mountain Stage and E-Town. Each performance features over two hours of music and is actually recorded as two separate one-hour radio shows. The first hour on Wednesday featured The Lovell Sisters and Alejandro Escovedo while the second hour focused on Jennifer Nicely and The Duhks. Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale is the host who holds the whole thing together by introducing the artists, conducting short interviews, and sometimes sitting in with the featured performers. It all makes for a rather enjoyable experience.

First up on Wednesday night were The Lovell Sisters, a family band made up of Jessica, Megan, and Rebecca Lovell… aged 21, 17, and 16. Their age belies their skills, and they were a great way to start the show. The sisters breezed through a set of traditional tunes and original songs. They even threw in a Hendrix cover for good measure. The girls are already Merlefest regulars and should only get better with age and experience.

We’ll skip ahead in the night a bit now to Jennifer Nicely, who opened the second hour of the show. Jennifer is an East Tennessee native who produces beautifully textured singer/songwriter fare that is based primarily in folk and jazz. Jennifer played a brief set filled with laid back atmospheric grooves. Her set provided a nice calm after the storm that Alejandro Escovedo produced.

The Duhks rounded out the show with their signature mix of… well… how do you describe The Duhks exactly? Their influences cover many styles including traditional string band music, pop, jazz, Celtic, Afro-beat, and Latin rhythms, and their sound is constantly evolving.

This was my first time seeing the band with their new line-up featuring the vocalist/percussionist brother and sister combo of Sarah and Christian Dugas. Sarah Dugas is also a songwriter who contributed several original tunes to the group’s latest album Fast Paced World. She owned the stage as she belted out tune after tune while fiddle player Tania Elizabeth whirled and twirled around and banjo player Leonard Podolak stomped about the stage. Christian Dugas and Jordan McConnell kept perfect time on drums and guitar.

The highlight of their set was the closing song which was a medley called “Ship High in Transit/Magalenha.” The song began as an instrumental piece showcasing McConnell and Elizabeth before erupting into a percussion and vocal piece that relies heavily on Latin rhythms and features lyrics sang in Portuguese. This is a very adventurous band that is not afraid to take you along on the ride with them.

Here’s one of their more straightforward numbers… and a song they played Wednesday night… “You Don’t See It.”

The Duhks: You Don’t See It (Buy Album)

Of course… the highlight of the night for me was Alejandro Escovedo. I’d been geared up for his set for some time, and I was fully prepared to rock out with the Real Animal. It was all I expected it to be, Alejandro provided a blistering set of fiery Rock & Roll that may have been too much for some in attendance. I saw a few people with fingers in their ears, a few people seek shelter in the lobby, and was told of one couple who (not so) kindly asked the sound table to cut back the volume a bit. It was a bit of a departure from the usual Tennessee Shines performance where artists generally are less amped and more acoustic, but I was too busy rocking out to care.
Alejandro blazed through six songs from his 2008 album Real Animal (my fave of ’08) and old favorite “Castanets.” His set was way too short, but still quite enjoyable. It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything live that could match the fire of “Chelsea” or “Castanets.” Simply put, if Alejandro Escovedo comes to your town… Go. You’ll be better for it.

Here’s a live version of “Castanets” from the Por Vida Fan Club CD to get you through the day and the words I wrote about the studio version of the song the last time I mentioned it here.

“My favorite Escovedo song, “Castanets,” comes from my favorite Escovedo album (2001’s A Man Under the Influence), and is one of my favorite songs of all time… period. The guitar lick on this song sets the track on fire and refuses to be extinguished for the next 3:27. This is, in my opinion, one of the great barroom rock songs ever recorded, and I will not be happy until everyone knows this tune.”

Alejandro Escovedo: Castanets (Buy Album)

New Music Round-Up: Darrell Scott, The Duhks, Solas

Posted in Darrell Scott, Solas, The Duhks on August 19, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Today is a very good day for new music. I’ve already taken a look at Chris Knight’s latest release, Heart of Stone. Today also sees the release of new records from Darrell Scott and The Duhks.

First… Darrell Scott.

Darrell Scott is a songwriter. Not just any songwriter. He writes good songs… great ones even. Grammy winning songs like the Dixie Chicks’ “Long Time Gone.” Heartbreaking ballads like Patty Loveless’ “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” Triumphant, joyous anthems like Travis Tritt’s “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive.” All those songs came from Scott’s pen. And don’t forget the songs Scott has kept for himself. “Hank Williams’ Ghost” was named Americana Song of the Year last year by The Americana Music Association.

It’s obvious then, that Darrell Scott knows how to write a good song. On his new album, Modern Hymns, Scott shows that he also has an ear for other people’s music as well. Hymns is a cover project in which Scott pays tribute to some of his favorite songwriters by tackling songs by Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, John Hartford, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Guy Clark, and Kris Kristofferson just to name a few. And, as you may expect from Scott (who is also an in-demand session player), the execution is flawless. He enlists the help of friends such as Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Casey Driessen, and long-time partner in crime Tim O’Brien (among others) to bring these songs to life.

Here are two tracks from the album. The first is Scott’s fairly faithful take on Paul Simon’s “American Tune.” On the second track, Scott pumps some energy into Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going” with a little help from Del McCoury.

Darrell Scott: American Tune (Buy Album)

Darrell Scott: Urge for Going (Buy Album)

This week also saw a new release from The Duhks. It’s a slightly different line-up this time around for the Canadian folk-grassers. Percussionist Scott Senior and vocalist Jessica Havey are replaced here by brother and sister duo Sarah and Christian Dugas. The Dugas siblings join Duhks veterans Leonard Podolak, Jordan McConnell, and Tania Elizabeth. The faces are different, but the sound remains largely the same. They still blend old time string band music with elements of latin percussion, folk, jazz, blues, celtic, and bluegrass. The biggest difference here is that Sarah Dugas has brought a number of original songs to the group to go with The Duhks usual mix of instrumentals, traditional tunes, and covers.

The first track here is one of Dugas’ originals, the title track “Fast Paced World.” The next two tracks really should be listened to together. Podolak’s instrumental “Ship High in Transit” blends seamlessly into the latin flavored “Magalenha.” I dare you not to dance.

The Duhks: Fast Paced World (Buy Album)

The Duhks: Ship High in Transit (Buy Album)
The Duhks: Magalenha (Buy Album)

The Duhks also appear on the new album from Ireland’s celtic supergroup Solas. And while Solas’ new album, For Love and Laughter isn’t officially released until August 26th, I thought I’d include it here.

This is, admittedly, the first I’ve ever really heard from Solas, but I find I’m enjoying it quite a bit. The track featured here, “Vital Mental Medicine/The Pullet” is an instrumental and one of two tracks featuring The Duhks.

Solas: Vital Mental Medicine/The Pullet (Buy Album)